Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day Seven: Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Part One

I woke early and was on the road by 0600 although it was still snowing. I didn't know it but leaving early would cost me time. There were few other vehicles on the road and despite the steady snow I didn't see any plows.

I made slow but steady progress. Flat road like this wasn't a problem but I knew that there was at least one steep climb before Summit Pass. If the road wasn't plowed and sanded I wouldn't make it up without chains. Shortly after this I decided to turn around and return to Fort Nelson. This involved unhitching the pickup, turning both vehicles on the highway and re-hitching. Yes, alone I temporarily blocked the Alaska Highway.

Returning, I finally got the lessened snowfall and the plowing I had been hoping to see for the last two hours. I found a place to turn around and decided to try again.

The climb had been plowed and was well sanded. There are no pictures because it required full attention and stopping was out of the question. This picture is at the top in a brake check area. I'm now begining to relax but a bit prematurely as it turned out.

As you can see the road is in good condition. I was impressed with the plowing and sanding. If I had left a couple of hours later I wouldn't have turned around.

Thinking the worst is over, I check that everything is secure before starting the descent.

The first of many mountain views. I soon realized that only the approach had been plowed and sanded. For the steep descent, I was on my own. With no other traffic and descending in second gear I was able to keep fair control. I had to squeeze by a tractor trailer that had slid sideways and was "chaining up" in the middle of the road.
Tomorrow: Part Two.

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